Masters of Reality

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

My contribution to The Critter Shed’s ‘Creatures of Extinction’. It’s based on an engraving from an 1854 edition of the Illustrated London News.

The illustration shows a dinner party being held inside the mould of one of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs on New Years Eve 1853. The artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins designed the dinosaurs with the help of Richard Owen, first director of the Natural History Museum. Hawkins and Owen are there, along with 20 or so of their scientific and literary friends, celebrating the launch of the models. And here are a couple of the completed iguanodons.

So, this is what people imagined iguanodons looked like in the 1850s. Or maybe I should say, this is what people from the 1850s imagined iguanodons looked like in the Cretaceous period, 145 million years ago. And this is what they thought they looked like when I was growing up in the 1970s/80s…

And this is what they think they looked like now…

Since I was a kid, one of my favourite dinosaurs got demoted and isn’t a dinosaur any more, another one now has feathers and there’s one less planet in the solar system.

Hangin’ about

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The Crisis Deepens

Monday, June 16th, 2014

This is my contribution to a collection of artworks produced by staff at Liverpool School of Art and Design – ‘I Don’t Love Soccer Because Soccer Has Never Loved Me‘. Each piece is a response to an essay titled The World Cup and Its Pomps written in 1978 by Umberto Eco.

The dialogue in my illustration is sourced from vox pops with fans on the Cardiff City website. They were about to get on the bus having been beaten 4-0 at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

There will be an exhibition of all the work at Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool on the 25th of June.

When is a sloth bear not a sloth bear?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

I’ve just started up a new blog called ‘today’s animal’. I draw a new animal every day. The quick turnaround throws up all kinds of challenges.

For one thing I have to cut down on my tinkering time. Drawings have to go up with minimal revision. For another thing, I have to come up with a treatment without an audience or context to help make some of the decisions for me.

One of the hardest choices with wildlife illustration is how realistic to make the wildlife. Animals have defining taxonomic characteristics, but while I want that animal to be that animal, I don’t necessarily want to attempt a photorealistic depiction.

But if, for example, I only change the eyes of the creature, am I just gluing teddy bear eyes onto a stuffed animal?

Children’s picture book illustrations often (not always) work best as a kind of expressive shorthand for the animal. And societies that have animals as important parts of their religion usually depict highly stylised, symbolic versions of the animal.

At the moment, I’m relying on my pen and wash technique to get a creature out of the door each day but, should I get ahead of myself, I’d like to start exploring more varied ideas around the depiction of animals.

The Lady with a Cat for a Head and other tales of Mystery and Imagination

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Some recent images from my Instagram feed.

Animatics

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

I’ve been getting a fair bit of storyboarding and animatic work recently. Images are drawn directly into Photoshop and can then be taken straight into After Effects to be used as animatics. Working with a drawing tablet and laptop in this way also allows me to come into agencies and work alongside the other creatives producing the work.

These images were produced for Uniform.

The following images are taken from a storyboard produced for Lion Eyes TV

The Y Project

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The Y Project is an education resource addressing some of the issues relating to gun and knife crime.

I was asked to create a series of illustrated backdrops for the film clips featured on the site.

The Y Project was produced by Unity Theatre and developed by Bev Ayre and Tim Brunsden. The website was designed by Chris Jackson.

Mandrill!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Animal Mash-Up

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Under the Oak Tree

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Ghost Girl

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The Haunted Mirror

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Click on the image for a close-up of the mirror…

Batboy

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Click on the image for the full picture.

Works in Progress

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Some recent Instagrams from my Twitter feed.

Sandstone

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Click on the image for a bigger picture…

Lord Derby’s Menagerie

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I was asked to create the illustrations for a magnetic map puzzle for the new Museum of Liverpool.

The map shows Knowsley Hall in the 1850s, when there was a menagerie in its grounds. Visitors have to match up four animals with their homes on the map. The animals are an Alpaca, a Brush-Tailed Bettong, a Nene and a Stanley Crane. The exhibit was designed by Redman Design.

The new museum is really stunning.

The new museum is really stunning and I’m very excited to have my work on permanent display there.

Hugo

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Watercolour portrait of a friend’s French Bulldog.

Three Dragons

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Roadworks

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

They’re re-wiring the karma at the bottom of my street.

Conker

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Managed to sketch this little fella with my iPhone before he ran off after a squirrel.